US trade deficit narrows as imports drop

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The US trade deficit fell in June after imports dropped 1.2% from the previous month, the biggest fall in a year.

The Department of Commerce reported a deficit of $41.5bn in June, a 7% decline from May's $44.7bn.

Imports fell by $2.9bn to $237.4bn, in part due to lower imports of consumer goods and cars. Imports of petroleum products also fell.

Exports of food and drink, vehicles and consumer goods helped to lift exports by 0.1% to a record $195.9bn.

Growth in the US economy in the second quarter may have been stronger than initial US government estimates, the figures suggest.

Last week the Department of Commerce said the US economy grew at an annual rate of 4% during the April-to-June period.

However, that rate included an estimate for the June trade deficit that was higher than Wednesday's figure, economists said.

The trade deficit in petroleum products fell to $14.6bn, its lowest level in four years, helped by lower imports.

US imports of petroleum products have fallen every month since January.

Domestic shale oil and gas production has been booming in the US over the past few years, reducing the country's reliance on imports.

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